It was a wise choice casting an unknown for the part of Aaron Stampler in Primal Fear, but it was a downright genius move to have that unknown be Edward Norton. I hope that whoever made that decision won the award at that year's Casties or something, and that they get perks to this day from Ed. MovieNut14 explains why.
Stay tuned throughout September for nuttiness and zaniness of all varieties - click here for the full lineup, and click here for prior entries.
I like seeing or reading debuts. Some authors (The Catcher in the Rye, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), directors (The Shawshank Redemption, Moon) and actors (To Have and Have Not, Primal Fear) seem to get off on the right foot. Then again, it isn't the case for all.
Arrogant high-powered attorney Martin Vail (Richard Gere) jumps at the chance to represent Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton), an alter boy accused of murdering the Archbishop. As Vail gets more into the case, he discovers there's more than it seems...
Much like how Vail learns more about the case, as I get more into the movie I learned more about Norton's role. When we're first introduced to Aaron, you couldn't believe that he would be responsible for such a vicious murder. But as the movie goes on, your thoughts drastically change.
The main reason for why Primal Fear hasn't slipped into obscurity is because of Norton's performance. I'm trying not to give away too much, but I can honestly say that Norton deserved the Oscar instead of Cuba Gooding, Jr.. Much more.
As for the rest of Primal Fear, it's a very good courtroom drama. Gere and Norton act alongside a good supporting cast including Laura Linney, Frances McDormand and Alfre Woodard. When it's over, expect to have your mind blown.
My Rating: ****1/2
Tomorrow: Travis takes a ride from the infamous Taxi Driver.